Patron Punch

First thing I need to say is that this is not my recipe. I don’t know where it originally came from, but after a brief googling session I realized that it is a more commonly known drink than I had thought.

I first had this drink on the island with my girlfriends and we loved it. So one evening after a grueling 20 minutes of deciding what we were drinking that night, we decided to call our bartender friend (who turned us on to this delish cocktail) and asked her for the recipe. You can find variations of the recipe all over the internet, so by all means play with the ingredients as you like and see what works best for you.

Now, it is called Patron Punch but let’s be honest, Patron costs near a weekend rental in the Bahamas (ok, so I exaggerate) and while the drink is at its prime if you use Patron, I promise a lesser tequila such as Quervo will still be tasty indeed.

patron punch

Patron Punch

2 oz. tequila

1/2 oz. citron

1 oz. cranberry juice

splash of Roses sweet lime juice

pineapple juice

In a shaker put ice and measure out your ingredients. The pineapple juice is the filler so for two servings, which this recipe is, I’d venture approximately 10 oz. of pineapple juice. I say this because some people like a juicier drink while others want to really taste the alcohol. I’m a big fan of putting some of the filler into the shaker with the ice and then adding more as needed once you get the drink poured into a glass. Make sure you have ice in your glass as well and strain the drink from the ice in the shaker.

Garnish with citrus rind(s) and fake cherries on a plastic sword :)

July Menu ~ 2013

Sorry my monthly menu plan is a little late. Believe it or not, I actually forgot to put one together (oops)! It’s not like I didn’t know it was July already, it’s just that I’ve been a little preoccupied with physical therapy and whatnot, but it’s here for you now :) Also, you may have noticed I didn’t do much cooking last month via my June menu so some of this months recipes will come from there.

July Menu – 2013

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Romano-Crusted Chicken with Salad

Taco Cornbread Pizza

Dijon-Dill Salmon withRice Fritters and Parmesan Tomatoes

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Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Four Bean Salad

Turkey Salisbury Steaks with White Bean Mash

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Cous Cous-Stuffed Peppers and Salad

Turkey Ragu with Creamy  Polenta

Ultimate Baked Beans

Chicken Rio with Cilantro Lime Rice

pilaf pic

Salmon and Pasta in Creamy Tomato Basil Sauce

Beef Stroganoff and Pesto-Parmesan Green Beans

Garlic Tilapia with Mexican Rice and veggies

Crock Pot Meatloaf and Gravy with mashed potatoes and veggies

cous stuf pep pic

Chicken Salad with Grapes and Pecans

Chicken and Rice Pilaf

Pineapple Galette

Harvest Bread

balsamic pic

Recipes I’m (still) working on:

Crunchy Fish Tacos with Cilantro Cream Sauce

Chocolate-Drizzled Cheesecake Cream Puffs

Spinach & Artichoke Crusted Chicken

Tomato Cucumber Bread Salad

Cow Pies (GF)

Crock Pot Swiss Chicken

 Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites (GF)

Spinach & Goat Cheese Tilapia Roulade with Tarragon Bechamel

Mexican Bruschetta

Chocolate Chip Blueberry Muffins

Patron Punch

Chocolate Fudge Tart with Mint Cream

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Asian Chicken Pizza with Peanut Sauce

Two Girls and a Party, Cast Party Wednesday, Wednesday Extravaganza, What’s in Your Kitchen, Full Plate Thursday, Thursday’s Treasures,

Raspberry Martini

Noel Coward said that the ideal martini should be made by “filling a glass with gin then waving it in the general direction of Italy.”  Luis Bunuel considered it enough to hold up a glass of gin next to a bottle of vermouth and let a beam of sunlight pass through. And Winston Churchill was said to whisper the word ‘vermouth’ to a freshly poured glass of gin makes a perfect martini.

I’ll be honest. I love me a filthy, dirty martini made with Ciroc (grapes), Grey Goose (wheat), or some other high-quality vodka. (I can’t drink potato-based vodkas, they make me sick.) AND a perfect martini should have only a hint of vermouth if any at all (my opinion.) Speaking of my opinion, one of the best martinis I’ve ever had was in a dive biker bar in the Northern ‘burbs of Chicago where the bartender simply poured some vermouth into a empty martini glass, turned it so the vermouth coated the entire inside of the glass, and then promptly dumped the remainder down the sink. Perfect.

So while some may say this drink does not qualify as a martini, I say this, “An awesome martini does not need vermouth to be awesome.” And if you are a skeptic, regardless of what I call it, try it anyway. It’s delicious!

martini

Raspberry Martini

2 ounces vodka

6 raspberries, plus more for garnish

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

2 tsp sugar

splash of gingerale

In a shaker muddle the 6 raspberries with the sugar and lemon juice.

Add ice and vodka. Shake. Add some gingerale now and a bit more after if needed. Shake.

Rim your glass with some lemon or lime juice and sugar it.

Pour martini into sugared glass.

Add more gingerale if needed.

Garnish with raspberries and a lemon or lime slice.

Enjoy!

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June Menu ~ 2013

Holy moly, I am having a hard time believing it is June already! Don’t get me wrong, I am so ready for summer and for the kids to be out of school, but when I look back at the past 5 months, I’m like wha??? Where’d it go? And it’s not even that so much as realizing that you’re half-way through 2013 already! Before you know it it’ll be 2014 and I still haven’t gotten used to writing 2013 on my checks!!

Ok, fine, enough complaining.

This month I have a lot going on. Most times June is a busy month for this family and this year is no exception. In fact, I have even more going on than usual for June, but mostly it’s coincidence. With that said, I will be out of town for three of the five weekends, and  so my aim is make my menu as easy as possible. There isn’t much in the way of new recipes, though I am sure if I have the time I will add something else. I often do. And there are also the leftover recipes from my May menu that I didn’t get to in time, so I will most likely get to those as well. I hope you find something you like. Happy cooking and welcome summer!

june 2013

Recipes I have posted before: Bourbon BBQ Sliders, Baked Tacos, Poor Man’s Mongolian Beef, Balsamic Grilled Chicken, Tomato & Zucchini Frittata, Dijon Dill Salmon, Honey Sesame Chicken, Lobster Risotto, Chili Lime Chicken Fiesta Salad, Crispy Cheddar Chicken, Maple Mustard Chicken, Pasta Lentil Soup.

Recipes I am working on this month:

Tomatillo Salsa Verde

General Tso’s Chicken Sliders with Cole Slaw

Raspberry Martini

Egg-Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Grilled Marinated Salmon

Crock Pot Pesto-Ranch Chicken

Pear Pecan Muffins

Tuscan Pasta

Greek Chicken

Chicken Pad Thai

Chocolate Fudge Tart with Mint Cream

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Mexican Coffee

We love coffee in this house. In fact, hubby is a big Coffee SNOB. So when our friend Yvonne served us some awesome Mexican coffee at her dinner party, we were not disappointed! I’m not even going to go on and on about this because you are going to want to make this. Like. Right. NOW. (Seriously, you should.)

Mexican Coffee

2/3 cup course ground coffee (2 large rounds)

1 quart water

1 cinnamon stick

1 (3-inch) orange peel

3/4 cup brown sugar

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat add coffee rounds and water, cinnamon sticks, sugar, and orange peel.

2. Stir to make sure sugar is dissolved. Cook for 5 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and let steep, covered, for 5 minutes. Strain through a mesh strainer into cups.

4. Serve with orange slices and some whipped cream.

Serves 4

Recipe by Yvonne

Pumpkin Spice Latte

If you’ve been keeping up with me on Facebook then you’ll know that I am currently somewhat obsessed with the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks. But at $5 a pop for a grande this is not economical especially when I can down one in .06 seconds. So I’ve decided to try my hand at making my own, and the results are fair if not mind-boggling.

One thing I had to realize is that I’m simply not going to get the exact same results as Starbucks, mainly because I am making this using more wholesome products rather than some chemical-filled pumpkin flavored syrup. And I’m also lucky enough to have a small espresso machine so the guesswork is eliminated as far as the espresso goes. If you do not have an espresso machine, never fear, one of the two recipes I’m including in this post does not require exact measurements.

Both of these recipes are general guidelines as far as I’m concerned. I like to play around with ingredients and measurements to see what works best for  me. For the lattes I made, I used about 3 shots of espresso and used the machine to froth 1/2 cup of 2% organic milk. Into the hot coffee I stirred in (approximately) 2 tsp vanilla, 1-2 T sugar, 2 T pumpkin puree, and about 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice (1/2 in and 1/2 sprinkled on top).

The result was slightly gritty due to the pumpkin puree. I used an emersion blender the second time around but it still had some fibers in it. It wasn’t wholly unpleasant, just not smooth like Starbucks. The overall taste was similar enough that I got my fix, though I am still on the hunt for a better recipe.

Here are the two I’ve gotten so far. The second one is the recipe I based my lattes off of, but of course you know that I didn’t use 1/2 & 1/2.

Copycat Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

1 cup unsweetened Almond milk

1/4 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

pinch of nutmeg

1 T sugar (or to taste)

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup strong coffee

I don’t know if almond milk froths but if you have an espresso machine it’s worth a shot. Otherwise I’d suggest heating it up in a small pot and adding the ingredients slowly, until combined. Top over strong, hot coffee. This is a relatively low-fat version with the almond milk.

Pumpkin Spice Latte #2

2 cup 1/2 & 1/2 (or skim milk, reduced milk, etc)

2 T pumpkin puree

1-2 T sugar (or to taste)

2 T vanilla (this seemed a lot even though I always say you can never have too much vanilla)

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1-4 shots of espresso

After I made the espresso and poured it into my cup, I added the pumpkin puree and mixed it up real good while the coffee was hot. This is how I make my mochachinos so I figured it would work just as well for pumpkin. The rest of the ingredients went into the hot coffee as well while I frothed the milk. After I poured in the milk, I sprinkled on a bit more pumpkin spice.

The second time I used the emersion blender before topping the coffee off with milk. The difference was slight.

Hopefully I’ll have more recipes to share after a little more research and experimentation, so stay tuned! And if you have any great coffee recipes please share- I’d love it!

 

Watermelon Cooler

This was a delicious and refreshing drink. I doubled the recipe for my recent party and it all got drank up! Even though Summer is coming to a close, it’s not too late to enjoy your watermelon in a whole new way.

Watermelon Cooler

6 cups chopped seedless (or de-seeded) watermelon*

3/4 cup sugar

Mint leaves

2 cups white grape juice

1 tsp finely grated lime peel

3/4 cup fresh lime juice

32 oz (4 cups) club soda

Place watermelon in food processor or blender and puree. I first used my hands to crush the fruit up some and then finished it off in the blender until smooth. I had to add a small amount of grape juice to help get the blender going.  Strain pulp through a sieve and discard the pulp.

*Your goal is 3 cups of liquid watermelon juice.

Add grape juice, club soda, sugar, lime peel and lime juice and mix well. The sugar will dissolve over time; The sugar will mix in easily after a chilling period in the fridge. Lightly crush the mint leaves in your hand as you add them to the pitcher. Strain them out before serving, or if using a pitcher with a lid you can leave them in. Most of the leaves will be caught in the spout anyway.

Chill no more than an hour or so. Cooler should be served as immediate as possible. (If you are serving it immediately then it helps to have the lime juice and club soda already chilled.)

Enjoy!

The Sangria Experiment

Picture courtesy of BH&G

I have some exciting news! Did you know that Sangria is LOW in calories? Not only is it a perfect summer cocktail, but it boasts the added benefits of fiber and vitamin C.

Heck yeah, pass me a glass!

Here is an awesome recipe via BH&G that offers six kinds of fruit at only 123 calories a glass.

WHITE SANGRIA

1 small honeydew melon, halved, seeded and cut into chunks

1 small pineapple, peeled and cut into chunks

4 medium peaches, cut into thin wedges

1 lemon, thinly sliced

2 – 750 millimeter bottles of dry, white wine, chilled

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbsp lime juice

1 liter bottled carbonated water, chilled

1 cup loosely packed small fresh mint leaves

Fresh pineapple spears

Directions

In a large punch bowl combine melon, pineapple chunks, peaches, lemon slices, and lime slices. Add wine, sugar, and lime juice. Stir well to dissolve sugar. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Just before serving, stir in carbonated water and mint leaves. Serve with pineapple spears. Makes 16 servings.

Nutrition Facts 
  • Servings Per Recipe 16,
  • Calories 123,
  • Protein (gm) 1,
  • Carbohydrate (gm) 16,
  • Dietary Fiber, total (gm) 1,
  • Vitamin A (IU) 97,
  • Vitamin C (mg) 21,
  • Sodium (mg) 20,
  • Calcium (DV %) 20,
  • Iron (DV %) 2,
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

But then I thought, why not make a sangria of my own using what I had on hand? How can this go wrong? Right??

This is what I had to work with: Chardonnay, Merlot and Shiraz. I have been gifted with lots of fresh peaches, I have strawberries, oranges, pears, and blueberries {I did until someone ate them all.} I also just happen to have an ingredient that sounded pretty good….ginger ale. And so the Sangria Experiment began :)

By the glass, I put some thinly sliced peaches and their juices into two glasses. Into one glass I added one thinly sliced strawberry. Into the other glass I added some thinly sliced pear (hey, why not?). Into both I put in some very juicy cantaloupe pulp (use it if you got it, I say) and 1 tsp of organic sugar. Chardonnay went into the glass with the strawberries, and Shiraz into the pears. Top both off with some ginger ale, chill for a handful of hours and the taste-test determined……..{drum roll please}…….

AWESOME! I am now convinced that you can mix just about any fruit with wine, allow to infuse for a bit, and it will be awesome. Keep in mind also that the longer you let it chill the better it will be. I ended up letting these two glasses sit in the fridge for about 24 hours. I should also admit that the ginger ale should be added just before serving, which I didn’t do, and yet it still came out very good. I expect it’s a matter of fizziness preference :)

The cantaloupe was a bit pulpy, so I drained it and replaced the larger pieces of fruit back in. It did lend a wonderful sweetness and flavor, however. Since it is not 5 o’clock yet (haha- I know, that was funny!) I put the Sangria into two cute little jars for later.

Happy Summer to you and enjoy this refreshing summertime cocktail!

December 18th ~ What’s On The Menu?

On the eighteenth day of December my true love gave to me,

a festive, little holiday soiree.

So last night I hosted a little Christmas party of my own. The guests were all members of the elementary school and the secondary school PTA’s. This celebration was due for all the hard work both groups (especially the secondary school PTA!) put into organizing and running our first annual Island-wide Community Fair back in October. What an event that was! Going to holiday parties is fun, and I’m definitely getting my fill this year, but I also love to host and entertain. It wasn’t a big party and it was pretty simple. In anticipation for about a dozen people, this was my menu of choice:

1. Hot Chicken Salad Always a winner. Last week I made a version of this for a quick dinner using leftover turkey. I also added some shredded cheese (I think it was the mexican blend, which was all I had) and broccoli. I also left off the topping and used Uncle Bens microwaveable wild rice instead of making my own. It was really good.

2. Caprese on a stick. These were cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, and cold cheese tortellinis skewered for a quick appetizer.

3. Crab Dip. I don’t make this. I actually paid a friend and local caterer to make this fabulous, amazing, dip for my party. I served this with croistini and tortilla chips. It’s just….WOW!

4. Veggie Platter. You can’t have a decent buffet without some veggies.

5. Roasted Brussel Sprouts. I never liked these growing up, but about 3 or 4 years ago my mom prepared them this way and now I love them. I also make asparagus, fresh green beans, and just about any other veggie you want, like squash and zucchini, this way. Simply toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, arrange in a single layer, and roast at 350* or even 400* until cooked to your liking. This should take anywhere from 5 to 8 minutes. Large sprouts should be halved.

6. Whole wheat rolls.

7. Assorted cheeses and crackers.

8. Gingersnap Lemon Tarts. The gingersnaps I made last week did not turn out well at all. While Number One didn’t seem to mind, I did. Apparently I misread the recipe and only put in 1/2 the butter. (So of course I had to make a whole new batch.) I took the older ones, crumbled them, added melted butter, and formed them into a mini-muffin pan to make crusts. Then I added lemon curd and a fresh berry on top. Viola!

9. Mini Eclairs, Cake Balls and Mini-Macaroons (courtesy of Sam’s Club)

10. A friend who lent me her punchbowl also gave me some of her homemade pepper jelly, which I put over a block of cream cheese. It was a hit!

11. In addition to offering sodas, sweet tea, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, I also made my first party punch ever, using pomegranate-cranberry juice, orange juice, fresh lemon juice, and champagne.

I put out  a tray of some of our family Christmas cookies (gingersnaps, snowballs, peanut clusters, and peanut butter balls: It’s Time to Bake! ) and offered goodie bags to anyone who wanted to take home a sweet by way of these cute little boxes. Only about 4 cookies fit into one of these, but it was just enough for a taste.

Now that’s what I call enjoying the season in good health, good spirits, good fun, and good company! I hope you are enjoying all your engagements, too. And as always, don’t forget to remember the real reason for the season.

““A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

 ~ John 13:34-35  NIV